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AI promises to make life easier. But it could also change what it means to be human

The history of humans’ use of technology has always been a history of coevolution. Philosophers from Rousseau to Heidegger to Carl Schmitt have argued that technology is never a neutral tool for achieving human ends. Technological innovations—from the most rudimentary to the most sophisticated—reshape people as they use these innovations to control their environment. Artificial intelligence is a new and powerful tool, and it, too, is altering humanity.

Writing and, later, the printing press made it possible to carefully record history and easily disseminate knowledge, but it eliminated centuries-old traditions of oral storytelling. Ubiquitous digital and phone cameras have changed how people experience and perceive events. Widely available GPS systems have meant that drivers rarely get lost, but a reliance on them has also atrophied their native capacity to orient themselves.

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